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Old 03-17-2020, 09:16 PM #1
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Steering wheel help

I replaced my steering wheel/shaft assembly with a lower mileage unit I found at junk yard. My original wheel was pretty much exactly straight. The new wheel is 15+ off center. Can I remove just the wheel and try to center it or do I have to take the whole thing apart again?

I removed the 2 6mm bolts on the sides that the tilt wheel hinges on and pulled the shaft assembly out. Leaving the housing/ignition in the dash.

The assembly I installed bmhad been rotated outside of the car. I counted the complete turns back and forth and tried to center the clock spring.
I know the steering shafts only fit together one way, teeth only line up one way. Wheel must have turned when I was lining up the splines.

Alignment was good before this, assume it should still be.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:59 PM #2
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Yeah just park it with the front wheels straight, pop the wheel off, and make it straight.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:30 AM #3
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will this change the amount it takes to turn to lock one way or the other?
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:56 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silver4est View Post
will this change the amount it takes to turn to lock one way or the other?
If the steering shaft itself is in the correct position it should not.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:51 PM #5
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The steering wheel can be corrected by rotating the outer tie rods on the steering rack. The full procedure is explained in the FSM. If you were to take your 4Runner into a dealership or to a mechanic and have a service done which has the wheels aligned as well as the steering wheel, they adjust at the outer tire rods.

It's a very simple process that only involves loosening one nut on each side. Can be done in 15 minutes.
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Old 03-19-2020, 12:32 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefreakgc View Post
The steering wheel can be corrected by rotating the outer tie rods on the steering rack. The full procedure is explained in the FSM. If you were to take your 4Runner into a dealership or to a mechanic and have a service done which has the wheels aligned as well as the steering wheel, they adjust at the outer tire rods.

It's a very simple process that only involves loosening one nut on each side. Can be done in 15 minutes.
If the alignment was good before the steering wheel swap, the steering wheel needs to be fixed, not the alignment...

-Charlie
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:11 PM #7
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Originally Posted by phattyduck View Post
If the alignment was good before the steering wheel swap, the steering wheel needs to be fixed, not the alignment...

-Charlie
Adjusting the outer tie rods in unison does not affect alignment, only the rotation of the steering wheel.
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:32 PM #8
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Originally Posted by gamefreakgc View Post
Adjusting the outer tie rods in unison does not affect alignment, only the rotation of the steering wheel.
In theory, yes - but good luck getting it right if you aren't on an alignment machine or measuring with good tools.

Oh, and you want the steering rack centered in its available travel (so L/R tie rod adjustments are similar) for multiple reasons. If the rack is off center, you can have mis-matched turning radius and bump steer while travelling straight.

-Charlie
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:46 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattyduck View Post
In theory, yes - but good luck getting it right if you aren't on an alignment machine or measuring with good tools.

Oh, and you want the steering rack centered in its available travel (so L/R tie rod adjustments are similar) for multiple reasons. If the rack is off center, you can have mis-matched turning radius and bump steer while travelling straight.

-Charlie
It's very small adjustments as long as the wheel isn't way off, like say 90* or something extreme. Then I wouldn't advise it and instead take it to a shop.

When I adjusted the 10 degrees or so my steering wheel was off this way, it was very simple. I marked with a pen the starting position of the OTRE, loosened the nut, rotated each side about 3/4 of one turn (one side clockwise, the other counter-clockwise since it's mirrored on the rack), then tightened. Worked perfectly and didn't affect my alignment at all that I had just had done a few months prior.

Attached is the page for the FSM if it helps for future searching & other members.
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File Type: pdf Steering Wheel Alignment.pdf (265.6 KB, 10 views)
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Last edited by gamefreakgc; 03-19-2020 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:28 PM #10
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^^^ That .pdf has exactly the info in it that I'm talking about. You are allowed to adjust up to 12* discrepancy at the steering wheel - which is about 1 spline on the steering hub... also, only 1.5mm difference in adjustment L/R on the tie rods is 'allowed'. So, the general rule here is get it as close as you can with the splines of the wheel to the steering shaft, then do final fine adjustments as part of a normal alignment.

-Charlie
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:54 PM #11
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+1 what Charlie said
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Old 03-20-2020, 02:27 PM #12
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If you didn't allow your steering shaft to spin while doing the steering wheel swap and your wheels were pointed straight ahead when doing the job, you can do exactly what others have said and pull the steering wheel back off, and getting it back on straight this time.

I would not mess with the outer tie rods unless you are planning on getting an alignment anyway. It's true you can make adjustments with the tie rods but why risk screwing up your alignment toe? Yes, you can do a driveway alignment. I did this and was within spec by using a tape measure on my 1985 4runner. But, you can only be sure your alignment is perfect when you get it to an alignment shop and they get it up on their alignment rack.

This video will help those interested in swapping out a steering wheel.

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Last edited by mtbtim; 03-20-2020 at 02:35 PM.
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